With hyper-personalization dominating every facet of our lives, the mission of successful retailers is to proactively engage consumers on an individualized basis, building a dialogue around their intrinsic needs and interests at any given time. This is especially true in the automotive industry where the timespan between purchases is measured in years.
Dealers are facing an increasingly uphill battle when attempting to manually harness the vast quantities of data required to create customer-focused programs that increase retention, advocacy and ultimately new sales and service revenue.
Enter Artificial Intelligence. Given the demand for individualized engagement, this technology is a critical component of any dealer’s marketing arsenal.
So, what is artificial intelligence anyway, and how do you recognize what tools have it and which ones are simply using the latest buzzwords?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) — Computer systems that can perform tasks by “thinking” as a human might, while processing more data faster and with increased efficiency.
Some examples of what AI looks like in real life are: robotics, self-driving cars, image recognition and machine learning.
That last one may be another buzzword you’ve heard of. Machine Learning — A specific way of using AI, where the machine can learn and achieve desired results without being explicitly programmed to do so.
Let’s not forget Predictive Modelling — A specific use of machine learning that can predict future behavior.
Predictive modelling through machine learning, powered by artificial intelligence allows you to prioritize your resources and make meaningful outreach to consumers when it is most impactful to their decision making. By taking data from their behavior — shopping patterns, browsing habits, past purchases, etc. — AI can help dealers interact with customers and prospects smartly, providing consumers with the information they desire at the time they most need it, rather than firing irrelevant messages randomly.
Shoppers don’t always give you the courtesy of informing you when they are in market, so you often lose customers without even having the chance to change their minds. AI helps you manage the individual consumer journey more efficiently and delivers valuable insights. By using this technology to predict who is in market, dealers can be alerted to likely buyers and contact those consumers before the competition, getting you back to what you do best — closing deals.
As Digital Leaders, an online forum for promoting effective, long-term digital transformation, put it, “AI is not some magic that will solve anything for you and your digital experiences — just forget the notion. You can’t hire a robot to do all your tasks super-fast. You still need humans and always will.”
But while the best salespeople in the world are those who know every one of their customers — their likes and dislikes, preferences and changing tastes — the capacity of the human brain limits us from achieving that type of sales nirvana with everyone. In addition, frequent turnover at dealerships often results in the loss of valuable customer relationships and knowledge.
AI alleviates some of that burden, and marketing tools that use AI don’t lose focus or forget to follow up with consumers. They’re always on, listening and modifying messaging and recommendations based on observed behavior.
Understand AI better now? Start looking into the best tools for your dealership today.